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Making it to the starting line

Four nights to Endurance Life Sussex. With the race coming closer, I start to wonder; am I failing if I don’t make it? It would feel like a failure to me, but for every ultra run, for every marathon isn’t it an achievement in itself to make it to the starting line?

Don’t get me wrong, I want to finish my first ultra. I’ve worked hard to get here, yet it’s been a long road, and it hasn’t been a smooth one. 

Dolomiti Extreme Trail

Before I signed up for Sussex, I already had signed up for the 55 kilometers at the Dolomiti Extreme Trail, on October 1. Yet, that was only the official moment. Running 50 kilometers, being 50 years old, has been in my mind for a long time. Maybe even before I dared to dream about it. 

I mean, I didn’t know what my ankles were capable of, so I slowly increased the distances I was running. If you’ve been reading this blog from the beginning, you might remember one of my first posts: 25 kilometers; a distance to dream about. I wrote it on August 18 last year. 

Viking Steam Trail

I was supposed to run those 25 kilometers 2 days later at the Viking Steam Trail, but that race turned out to be almost a kilometers shorter. Yet, 24k wasn’t bad. 

Even then, there was the Dolomiti Extreme Trail on my mind. I think from the moment Sara and I set foot in Zoldo, June last year, and a volunteer of the Dolomiti Extreme Trail told me the 55 was the most beautiful race they had, I decided I want to run it. I just didn’t know if I could. If my ankle could. 

Longer and longer

24 kilometers became 26,7. 26,7 kilometers became 27,5. 27,5 became 32. 32 became 36,7, and 36,7 became 44,5. Somewhere, in between all those long runs, I signed up for Sussex. To run 50 kilometers, as a test for the Dolomiti Extreme Trail. To see, if I can do 50 kilometers and to see if I can run 1.600 meters uphill. 

It hasn’t been a smooth road. I struggled with my ankles in the beginning. Leaving the road, getting other running shoes, and focusing on the trails solved that problem. Next my Sartorius muscle cost me knee pain. I solved that with lots of massages and kinesiology tape. 

Bad nights

However, the biggest problem was my frozen shoulder. Is my frozen shoulder. I still don’t sleep properly, because of the pain it causes me. I had an electrocardiogram today. In rest and during exercise. I have some pain on the left side of my chest. It felt like a radiating pain from the right side, but just to be sure I had a check. All is fine. 

I’m not the only one struggling with little injuries while preparing for a big race. Sara had to stop running for a while, because of shin pain. Massages and taping solved that as well. It does make me realize that getting to the starting line is an achievement in itself. It’s not given to every runner. Some have to drop out, even before the start. So the race is just a bonus. 

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